Bush Skips Town on secret ‘GET OUT OF JAIL FREE’ Card – Canada’s Cowardly Legal Lions Protecting ‘W’ from Justice?
COVERUP : B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond stays proceedings against Bush, posthaste! Without Reading It’s 69+ Pages First? **
Attorney General still has not given us any reasons in writing: Senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights
George W. Bush was slipped a secret GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD from Canada‘s cowardly legal powers on 24 October, 2011 allowing the former U.S. president to once again slip through the fingers of justice fighters aiming to bring him in for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bush’s 20 October speaking engagement at a hotel in Surrey, B.C. closed down city streets, commandeered phalanxes of special police protection officers and attracted hundreds of highly-vocal, sign-waving protestors railing against war crimes widely believed to have been perpetrated by the Bush administration. Even while the protestors were raising their voices against Bush, a British Columbia court official in Surrey accepted delivery from a group of human rights organizations of a scathing 69-page criminal indictment against Bush, and duly set a hearing date for January, 2012.
Things fizzled out from there:
Matt Eisenbrandt, legal director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), one of the intervening rights organizations, said in a press release the same day: ” Mere hours after a justice of the peace received the criminal information and the court set a hearing date for January, we received notice by phone that the Attorney General of British Columbia had already intervened in the case and stayed the proceedings against former President Bush, effectively ending the case.”
The indictment brought by the rights group, which comprises the New York based Center For Constitutional Justice, Amnesty International as well as the CCIJ lays out the harrowing case of four individuals who endured horrendous tortures including beatings, chaining to cell walls, being hung from walls or ceilings while handcuffed, lack of access to toilets, sleep, food and water-deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures, sensory overload and deprivation while captive in the hands of U.S. military forces. One of the men, Hassan Bin Attash, is still detained at Guantánamo. He has been imprisoned there without charge for more than nine years.
Eisenbrandt says the legal basis for the indictment is exceptionally strong, and the case should have been tried under the Criminal Code of Canada. “A slap in the face to the four men who were brutally tortured by Mr. Bush’s government..” is how he describes the Attorney General’s underhanded scuttling of the case.
Shirley Bond is the Attorney General for the province of British Columbia. It was her office that intervened in the case and stayed the proceedings against Bush. Bond was named Attorney General on August 18, 2011. She serves as Attorney General on an interim basis. Bond’s assistant deputy attorney general,Robert W. G. Gillen, Q.C., has respsonded to this blogger’s enquiries regarding documentation and rationale behind her shutting down the case against Bush, but unsatisfactorily. Gillen’s letter is currently being reviewed and analyzed by a CCIJ lawyer. Click: link to the CCIJ critique.
◊This blogger is awaiting results of a Freedom of Information Request in search for possible dark politics at play protecting Bush from Justice in Canada.
While an attorney general of a Canadian province is not required to take instruction from the federal AG, Bond’s brief tenure in the position and the tenderfoot status of the provincial government of which she is a member causes speculation about what influence the federal Attorney General’s office might have played in her decision. Canada’s present Conservative federal government led by prime minister Stephen Harper is known to have had congenial relations with the Bush administration, even in times of Bush’s deepest unpopularity and impending political death.
Federal Attorney General, Robert Nicholson, has not responded to enquiries from this blogger regarding possible political interference and his stance on investigating and apprehending Bush based on the stayed charges.
It’s a deafening silence.
Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights said, ” The Attorney General still has not given us any reasons in writing for staying the case, but the speed with which it was done shows the case was not treated seriously.“
Gallagher brings forward the ever-present legal jeopardy that haunts George W. Bush these days. His world is shrinking around him :
“Mr. Bush will need to be exceedingly careful about where he travels. He has caused harm to so many – including those who were tortured in U.S.-run detention facilities – and he remains vulnerable to prosecution in any of the other 145 countries that have signed the Convention Against Torture, as long as the United States continues to breach its own obligations under the Convention.”
There is something that could explain why Canadian authorities are happy to let Bush breeze through with no fuss, no muss, and certainly no criminal indictments accepted. Canada itself has been complicit in Bush’s war ziggurat, and paid a price. Canada, like many other countries, once cooperated with Bush in various ways and now finds itself in a squeeze equally along with Mr. Bush. In 2002 a Canadian court awarded Canadian citizen Maher Arar $10 million in damages for the suffering he endured when he was illegally handed over by Canada to U.S. security forces, who then imposed “renditioning” on him – being shipped off to a third party country for torture. In a U.S. ‘black’ detention centre in Syria, Arar was beaten with electrical cables and held in a grave-like cell for 10 months. Arar is active now in investigating the U.S. and Syrian personnel who perpetrated these crimes against him.
Perhaps because of the heat raised by one case like Arar’s, now Canadian authorities feel shy, and sly, about not bothering with Bush.
Let there be no mistake: the international hunt for Bush and his War On Terror cronies is real, widespread, and well-armed for Justice. More countries find themselves inexorably sucked into the Bush war crimes vortex. One big question to be settled is which countries ran secret, illegal prisons on their soil on behalf of Bush’s torture experts? Evidence girds the globe implicating Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland and Lithuania. Legal minds in those countries already are furiously cobbling together whatever legal defences they can muster against inevitable charges coming their way on this account.
Spanish prosecutors have already pressed criminal charges against six senior Bush administration officials who approved the harsh interrogation methods that detainees say were employed at U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo Bay and other sites.
Last November, Italian courts convicted a CIA chief and 22 other Americans – all CIA operatives – in the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric who ended up in a secret prison in Egypt. The Americans were tried in absentia and aren’t expected to serve jail time. Still…the noose tightens.
One puzzlement is that, while other countries prepare to face war crimes charges, the one obvious suspect is utterly blithe on the subject. One Miami Herald headline said:
Could America consider herself immune from prosecution? What is Liberty thinking?
“More and more in our times Canadians have wondered just what kind of continental neighbour America, is, exactly. Where will it all end?”
That’s what this blog is all about.